On Sunday 10th September, the Bollington Brewery Three Peaks fell race ran once again. Not to be confused with the National Three Peaks Challenge which takes in the highest point of the three home nations, this one is a little shorter and the hills a little smaller.
However, set over 5.7 miles of rough and steep terrain, runners faced a 1,200 ft ascent traversing Kerridge Hill, White Nancy and Nab Hill, this is still a significant challenge especially in very humid and hot conditions.
Sponsored by Bollington Brewery, officially it’s the only fell race in the country to start and finish at a brewery and sees seasoned fell runners compete alongside relative novices.
The race sets off on the Bollington viaduct and is a quick sprint along the old railway line (Middlewood Way to give it its proper name!) before heading out on to the hills. A very runnable course, it was well marked and marshalled, which was fantastic as it goes across land not usually open to the public. A sensible decision and much-welcomed water station was offered after the White Nancy descent. I have included a picture of White Nancy for interest, a white-washed, sugarloaf-shaped folly erected in 1817 by John Gaskell to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Waterloo!
Much gratitude must go to the residents of Bollington and surrounding areas who were out supporting along the way, but special mention must be given to the lady who set up an impromptu shower station outside her house, I think everyone will have appreciated that just before the last climb up Nab Nill.
It’s fair to say that the course records were never really in any danger this year, the hot and humid weather put paid to that, but there was still some fantastic performances, none more so than from our very own Katie Walshaw. Not only did she finish first lady, by some 7 minutes, but finished a very impressive 2nd overall in 44.20 which included taking some noticeable scalps from races earlier in the season. It does seem that she is starting to hit some of her best form ahead of the FRA English Championship race (John Hewitt Shelf Moor) in Glossop in two weeks’ time.
As for me, I found this race a tough one with the hills and heat but still managed a very creditable 33rd in 53.33 in what has been, so far, a challenging season with one thing and another.
Results: 1st Nathanael Booker 43.20, 2nd Katie Walshaw 44.20, 3rd Owen Harrison 44.30, 4th Phil Carpenter 44.47, 32nd James Washington 52.35
The entry fee was £12 and included a free pint and chilli put on by the Brewery and had a real festival vibe as they also booked a live band, it was an unbelievably good atmosphere, despite the odd shower which I think most were grateful of.
There was a great field of 227, which I am sure will have helped bolster the funds for Buxton Mountain Rescue, with runners of all abilities and is certainly one of the races I would recommend to anyone wishing to dip their toe in at trail running.